WORLD PROGRAMME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION

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1 WORLD PROGRAMME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION Second Phase Plan of Action United Nations Cultural Organization

2 WORLD PROGRAMME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION Second Phase Plan of Action New York and Geneva, 2012 United Nations Cultural Organization

3 NOTE The designations employed and the presentation of the material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area, or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Symbols of United Nations documents are composed of capital letters combined with figures. Mention of such a figure indicates a reference to a United Nations document. HR/PUB/12/ United Nations All worldwide rights reserved 2

4 Foreword Human rights education is a lifelong process that builds knowledge and skills, as well as attitudes and behaviours, to promote and uphold human rights. This definition guides the World Programme for Human Rights Education, a global initiative of the United Nations which, since 2005, has encouraged concrete measures to integrate human rights education in all sectors. The emphasis of the World Programme s first phase ( ) was on the school system. Building on the achievements of those five years, the second phase ( ) focuses on those who further mentor tomorrow s citizens and leaders, such as higher education institutions, as well as on those who have a major responsibility for respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of others from civil servants and law enforcement officials to the women and men serving in the military. In adopting the Plan of Action for the second phase at the Human Rights Council in September 2010, United Nations Member States agreed to strengthen human rights education in these sectors through the development and review of policies and practices. The Plan of Action provides Governments and others with practical guidance on how to do so in terms of process and contents. Human rights education contributes to protecting the dignity of all human beings and to building societies where human rights are valued and respected. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), together with other United Nations agencies and international and regional organizations, continue to work closely to coordinate support to Member States and others in the implementation of human rights education. While action must be taken first and foremost nationally and locally, we stand ready to assist all efforts towards this goal. Irina Bokova Director-General United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Navanethem Pillay United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights iii

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6 Contents Foreword... iii The plan of action for in brief... 1 Plan of action for the second phase ( ) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education I. Introduction A. Context and definition of human rights education B. Objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights Education C. Principles for human rights education activities II. The second phase ( ) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education: a plan of action for human rights education in higher education and for human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military A. Scope B. Specific objectives C. Action promoting human rights education in higher education D. Action promoting human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military E. Process for national implementation F. International cooperation and support G. Coordination and evaluation Annex: Human Rights Council resolution 15/11 of 30 September 2010, adopting the plan of action for the second phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education v

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8 THE PLAN OF ACTION FOR IN BRIEF This section summarizes the plan of action for the second phase ( ) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education. 1 It highlights key actions to be undertaken to integrate human rights education effectively in the higher education system and in the training of civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military. The plan of action was adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 30 September A/HRC/15/28. 2 Human Rights Council resolution 15/11. 1

9 I. The World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005 ongoing) What is human rights education? Human rights education can be defined as education, training and information aimed at building a universal culture of human rights. Effective human rights education not only provides knowledge about human rights and the mechanisms that protect them, but also develops the skills needed to promote, defend and apply human rights in daily life. Human rights education also fosters the attitudes and behaviours needed to uphold human rights for all members of society. Human rights education activities should convey fundamental human rights principles, such as equality and non-discrimination, while affirming their interdependence, indivisibility and universality. At the same time, activities should be practical relating human rights to learners real-life experience and enabling them to build on human rights principles found in their own cultural context. Through such activities, learners are empowered to identify and address their human rights needs and to seek solutions consistent with human rights standards. Moreover, for those who have the responsibility for respecting, protecting and fulfilling the rights of others, human rights education develops their capacity to do so. Both what is learned and the way in which it is learned should reflect human rights values, encourage participation and foster a learning environment free from want and fear. Why a World Programme for Human Rights Education? On 10 December 2004, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005 ongoing) to advance the implementation of human rights education programmes in all sectors. 3 Building on the foundations laid during the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education ( ), the World Programme, which has been complemented by a new specific standard-setting effort, namely the development of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, reflects the international community s increasing recognition that human rights education can produce far-reaching results. By promoting respect for human dignity and equality and participation in democratic decision- 3 General Assembly resolution 59/113 A. 2

10 making, human rights education contributes to the long-term prevention of abuses and violent conflicts. To help make human rights a reality in every community, the World Programme seeks to promote a common understanding of the basic principles and methodologies of human rights education, to provide a concrete framework for action, and to strengthen partnerships and cooperation from the international level down to the grass roots. Unlike the limited time frame of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education ( ), the World Programme is open-ended and structured around an ongoing series of phases, the first of which covered the period and focused on the primary and secondary school systems. 4 Although the target audiences have changed since 2010, the Human Rights Council encouraged States to also continue the implementation of human rights education in primary and secondary school systems. 5 4 The plan of action for the first phase is available from and 5 Human Rights Council resolutions 12/4, para. 3, and 15/11, preamble. 3

11 II. A plan of action for human rights education in higher education and for human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military The plan of action for the second phase ( ) of the World Programme, which benefited from the input and review of governmental and non-governmental experts and practitioners, proposes a concrete strategy and practical ideas for implementing human rights education in the abovementioned areas at the national level. Its key elements are highlighted below. Human rights education in higher education Higher education is all education taking place at the post-secondary level in universities or other establishments approved by the State authorities, including institutions for the training and certification of professionals such as teachers, social workers, medical and legal personnel. In this context, human rights education promotes a holistic, rights-based approach to education that includes both human rights through education, ensuring that all the components and processes of education including curricula, materials, methods and training are conducive to the learning of human rights, and human rights in education, ensuring that the human rights of all members of the education community are respected. The effective integration of this approach in higher education requires action in at least the following five areas: 1. Policies and related implementation measures. Higher educational policies legislation, plans of action, curricula, training policies and so on should explicitly promote human rights education and infuse human rights throughout the higher education system. Policies are to be developed in a participatory manner in cooperation with all stakeholders and fulfil a country s international obligations to provide and promote the right to quality education. To be effective, policies need a consistent implementation strategy, including the allocation of adequate resources and the setting-up of coordination mechanisms to ensure coherence, monitoring and accountability. 2. Teaching and learning processes and tools. Introducing or improving human rights education requires a holistic approach to teaching and learning that reflects human rights values. Human rights are infused as a cross-cutting issue into all disciplines, and specific human rights courses and programmes in particular, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary human rights programmes are introduced. Practices and methodologies are 4

12 democratic and participatory. Materials and textbooks promote human rights values. Relevant support and resources are in place. 3. Research. Higher education institutions develop new knowledge and advance critical reflection in the area of human rights, which in turn inform policies and practices in human rights and in human rights education. Through an assessment of existing experiences and comparative studies, research can support the identification and dissemination of good practices as well as the development of innovative methodologies and tools based on those practices; research can also guide lesson-learning and evaluation exercises. Research can be furthered through exchanges, scholarships and fellowships. 4. The learning environment. Academic freedom informs the environment of higher education institutions, where human rights education promotes the daily practice of human rights by fostering mutual understanding, respect and responsibility. Explicit and shared policy statements protect the human rights of all actors. Teaching personnel have a mandate to pursue human rights education, and students can express their views freely, participate in academic life and have extensive opportunities for interacting with the wider community. 5. Education and professional development of higher education teaching personnel. For higher education institutions to serve as a model of human rights learning and practice, all teaching personnel and other staff need to be able to both transmit and model human rights values. Education and professional development must foster educators knowledge about, commitment to and motivation for human rights. Furthermore, as rights-holders themselves, teaching personnel need to work and learn in a context of respect for their dignity and rights. Human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military United Nations instruments provide detailed guidance to civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military who have a specific responsibility, as State actors, for respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of those under their jurisdiction on the performance of their duties. General strategies to promote human rights training for these professional groups effectively require action in at least the following areas: 1. Training policies and other related policies. Training policies provide that human rights training is mandatory for professional qualification and promotion, and specialized training is required for officials dealing with particularly vulnerable groups. Human rights training is integrated into pre- 5

13 service and in-service training curricula. It is delivered by specialized staff, and a mechanism for evaluation and impact assessment is in place. As training is not an isolated effort but rather part of an overall capacity-building strategy, all policies and regulations concerning the profession are reviewed to make sure that they are not inconsistent with human rights standards but rather promote the profession s contribution to human rights. 2. Training processes and tools. Training content is relevant to the audience and reflects its role and responsibilities, the institutional and organizational culture, and specific applicable standards. Training methodologies and practices are practical; participatory and sensitizing techniques are used, and training builds on peer learning and professional self-esteem. Training materials and textbooks promote human rights values. 3. The learning and working environment. Policy statements such as codes of conduct and professional ethics promote the profession s contribution to human rights and incorporate human rights with regard to all areas of work; good practices are promoted, recognized and rewarded; and interaction and collaboration with the wider community are enhanced. A concrete strategy for national action Infusing human rights education in higher education and human rights training in the training of professionals requires a comprehensive strategy which builds on the national context, priorities and capacity. This plan of action proposes four steps for the national process of planning, implementing and evaluating human rights education in higher education and in the training of civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military: Step 1: Analysis of the current situation of human rights education in the above-mentioned areas. This first step calls for a national study on the current situation, which would cover existing policies and practices, resources and tools, the historical and cultural context as well as the actors involved. With wide dissemination and discussion, this document can serve as a basis for developing a national implementation strategy in step 2. 6

14 Step 2: Setting priorities and developing a national implementation strategy. 6 The strategy addresses all the areas mentioned in the plan of action for the respective target audiences (e.g. policies, teaching and learning processes and tools, the learning environment) and focuses on actions that can have a sustainable impact. It sets realistic objectives and priorities, and anticipates at least some implementation during Step 3: Implementing and monitoring. Once developed, the national implementation strategy is widely disseminated and put into practice, and its progress is monitored using fixed milestones. Step 4: Evaluating. Self-evaluation and independent evaluation of the national implementation strategy enable learning for the future. Evaluation results are recorded in a report with recommendations for future action based on lessons learned. Who should be involved? With regard to human rights education in higher education, the main responsibility for implementation rests with ministries (or equivalent institutions) of education or of higher education, working in cooperation with other parts of the Government, as well as higher education institutions and relevant training colleges. Other key actors are teaching personnel and students unions and associations, education and human rights research and training institutions and resource centres, relevant parliamentary committees, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, and so on. With regard to human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military, the main responsibility for implementation rests with ministries (or equivalent institutions) concerned by the functions covered by those professional groups for instance, depending on the country, these may be the ministry of public administration, of the interior, of justice or defence working in cooperation with other parts of the Government, as well as local government. Other key actors are professional training colleges, unions and associations of civil servants and law enforcement officials, relevant parliamentary committees, municipalities, human rights training institutions and resource centres, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations, and so on. 6 Guidelines for national plans of action for human rights education (A/52/469/Add.1 and Corr.1) and Handbook on National Human Rights Plans of Action, Professional Training Series No. 10 (2002) provide further guidance on developing national strategies. Available from Examples of existing plans can be found at htm (accessed 21 November 2011). 7

15 What are the coordination mechanisms? At the national level, States should identify a relevant department as a focal point for coordinating the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the national implementation strategy. This department should engage with the relevant units, ministries and other national actors. It should also cooperate with the national agencies responsible for drawing up country reports to the United Nations human rights mechanisms (treaty bodies, special procedures and the universal periodic review) to ensure that progress in human rights education under the plan of action is included in those reports. Finally, it will liaise with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which coordinates the second phase of the World Programme in cooperation with relevant entities of the United Nations system (in particular the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with regard to higher education), and share information on national progress. At the conclusion of the second phase, in early 2015, each country will evaluate its actions and submit a final national evaluation report to OHCHR. On the basis of these reports, OHCHR will prepare a final report for the Human Rights Council in What kind of support is available for national implementation? The development of a national implementation strategy and the implementation of related activities by Member States can be supported by international cooperation from the United Nations system and other international and regional intergovernmental organizations; professional networks and associations; human rights resource, training and documentation centres; nongovernmental organizations and financial institutions. The close collaboration of these actors is indispensable to maximize resources, avoid duplication and ensure coherence. These entities may assist in a variety of ways, for instance, by: Supporting States in the development, implementation and monitoring of the national implementation strategy and of related activities; Facilitating information-sharing at all levels, including through the identification, collection and dissemination of good practices as well as information about available materials, institutions and programmes; 8

16 Encouraging the development of human rights education networks; Supporting training and research. 9

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18 PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE SECOND PHASE ( ) OF THE WORLD PROGRAMME FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION 11

19 I. Introduction A. Context and definition of human rights education 1. The international community has increasingly expressed consensus on the fundamental contribution of human rights education to the realization of human rights. Human rights education aims at developing an understanding of our common responsibility to make human rights a reality in every community and in society at large. In this sense, it contributes to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and violent conflicts, the promotion of equality and sustainable development and the enhancement of participation in decisionmaking processes within a democratic system Provisions on human rights education have been incorporated into many international instruments and documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (art. 26); the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 1965 (art. 7); the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 (art. 13); the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 (art. 10); the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (art. 10); the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 (art. 29); the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, 1990 (art. 33); the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 2006 (arts. 4 and 8); the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (Part I, paras and Part II, paras ); the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, 2001 (Declaration, paras and Programme of Action, paras ); the Outcome Document of the Durban Review Conference, 2009 (paras. 22 and 107); and the 2005 World Summit Outcome (para. 131). 3. In accordance with these instruments, which provide elements of a definition of human rights education as agreed upon by the international community, human rights education can be defined as any learning, education, training and information efforts aimed at building a universal culture of human rights, including: (a) The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; (b) The full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity; 1 Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/71 (21 April 2004), preambular paragraph 4. 12

20 (c) The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and minorities; (d) The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free and democratic society governed by the rule of law; (e) The building and maintenance of peace; (f) The promotion of people-centred sustainable development and social justice. 4. Human rights education encompasses: (a) Knowledge and skills learning about human rights and mechanisms, as well as acquiring skills to apply them in a practical way in daily life; (b) Values, attitudes and behaviour developing values and reinforcing attitudes and behaviour which uphold human rights; (c) Action taking action to defend and promote human rights. 5. With a view to encouraging human rights education initiatives, Member States have adopted various specific international frameworks for action, such as the World Public Information Campaign on Human Rights (1988 ongoing), focusing on the development and dissemination of human rights information materials, the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education ( ) and its plan of action, encouraging the elaboration and implementation of comprehensive, effective and sustainable strategies for human rights education at the national level, the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World ( ), the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development ( ), the International Year for Human Rights Learning ( ) as well as the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2010) The Platform for Human Rights Education and Training, an informal crossregional grouping of States within the framework of the Human Rights Council which supports related international activities, is promoting the development of a United Nations declaration on human rights education and training. A first draft, prepared by the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee, was presented to the Council in March In its resolution 13/15 of 25 March 2010, the Council decided to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate of negotiating, finalizing and submitting to the Council the draft declaration by March General Assembly resolution 62/90. 13

21 7. On 10 December 2004, upon the recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights and the Economic and Social Council, the General Assembly proclaimed the World Programme for Human Rights Education scheduled to begin on 1 January 2005, in order to advance the implementation of human rights education programmes in all sectors. The World Programme 39 is structured in consecutive phases, in order to further focus national human rights education efforts on specific sectors/issues. B. Objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights Education 8. The objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights Education are: (a) To promote the development of a culture of human rights; (b) To promote a common understanding, based on international instruments, of basic principles and methodologies for human rights education; (c) To ensure a focus on human rights education at the national, regional and international levels; (d) To provide a common collective framework for action by all relevant actors; (e) To enhance partnership and cooperation at all levels; (f) To survey, evaluate and support existing human rights education programmes, to highlight successful practices, and to provide an incentive to continue and/or expand them and to develop new ones. C. Principles for human rights education activities 9. Educational activities within the World Programme shall: (a) Promote the interdependence, interrelatedness, indivisibility and universality of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and the right to development; (b) Foster respect for and appreciation of differences, and opposition to discrimination on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, physical or mental condition, sexual orientation and other bases; 3 General Assembly resolution 59/113 A. 14

22 (c) Encourage analysis of chronic and emerging human rights problems (including poverty, violent conflicts and discrimination), also in view of rapidly changing developments in the political, social, economic, technological and ecological fields, which would lead to responses and solutions consistent with human rights standards; (d) Empower communities and individuals to identify their human rights needs and to claim them effectively; (e) Develop the capacity of duty-bearers (in particular, governmental officials), who have an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of those under their jurisdiction, to meet such obligation; (f) Build on the human rights principles embedded within the different cultural contexts and take into account historical and social developments in each country; (g) Foster knowledge of and skills to use local, national, regional and international human rights instruments and mechanisms for the protection of human rights; (h) Make use of participatory pedagogies that include knowledge, critical analysis and skills for action furthering human rights; (i) Foster teaching and learning environments free from want and fear that encourage participation, enjoyment of human rights and the full development of the human personality; (j) Be relevant to the daily life of the learners, engaging them in a dialogue about ways and means of transforming human rights from the expression of abstract norms to the reality of their social, economic, cultural and political conditions. 15

23 II. The second phase ( ) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education: a plan of action for human rights education in higher education and for human rights training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military A. Scope 10. The first phase ( ) of the World Programme was dedicated to the integration of human rights education in the primary and secondary school systems. A related plan of action was adopted by the General Assembly in July According to Human Rights Council resolution 12/4, the second phase of the World Programme ( ) will focus on human rights education for higher education and on human rights training programmes for teachers and educators, civil servants, law enforcement officials and military personnel at all levels and Member States should also continue the implementation of human rights education in primary and secondary school systems. 12. The plan of action focuses on human rights education in two broadly defined sectors, i.e. higher education and training for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military. 13. With regard to training for teachers, strategies to address primary and 511 secondary school teachers are already covered in the plan of action for the first phase of the World Programme. Higher education teaching personnel, 612 sometimes also defined as teachers, are dealt with in the higher education section of this plan of action. 14. Educators is a broad definition used to refer to people who design, develop, implement and evaluate human rights education activities and programmes in formal, informal and non-formal education settings. Whilst the plan of action does not have a specific section on human rights training for 4 General Assembly document A/59/525/Rev.1, Revised draft plan of action for the first phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, available at: training/planaction.htm. 5 The word teachers covers all those persons in schools who are responsible for the education of pupils, UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers (1966), section I, definitions, para. 1 (a). 6 Higher-education teaching personnel means all those persons in institutions or programmes of higher education who are engaged to teach and/or to undertake scholarship and/or to undertake research and/ or to provide educational services to students or to the community at large, UNESCO recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel, 1997, section I, definitions, para. 1 (f). 16

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